I told Todd about the suggestion my client at work had given me about the lawyer. I felt strongly that if we could get him to take our case, we could get answers, we could get some sort of justice for our little Nash. I knew it would be hard. This was a big time lawyer and our chances were small. As I dialed the number, my stomach was in knots. Never in my life did I ever imagine having to make a phone call like this. So many thoughts were racing through my mind. It had only been a few months since Nash passed and Everything was still so fresh, and talking about it with anyone was still hard. When the secretary answered, I explained my story and cried through 80% of it. She apologized for my loss and explained that they did not take cases like ours.
I knew it. My heart sunk, and I as I went to hang up I heard something in the background. I could hear someone talking to the lady but couldn’t make out what they were saying. She then asked me more questions. This followed by mumbling in the background again and more questions. Something was going on, and I couldn’t tell what. She then asked, “What is your son’s name?” I replied, “Nash,” as my voice cracked and tears started flowing again. She quickly responded that she was transferring me to her supervisor. The lady on the phone spoke gently and quietly as she explained who she was and that she knew of our story. She said, “I will make sure this gets to Brian and will attach a little something on my behalf.” I was shocked! She cautiously explained that she wasn’t sure what he would say, or if would even take the case, but that she would try. I was so thankful and felt a small ray of hope. It was just one of the many winks from God that had played out in the months following Nash’s death.
A month went by and Todd and I started to consider calling another lawyer. We had come to the conclusion they had probably decided to not take our case. Then we got the call that Brian wanted to meet with us. As we drove to Detroit, my mind filled with so many different thoughts. How much should I beg him to take our case without looking crazy? Will he be cold and non-empathetic like TV makes lawyers out to be? Are we doing the right thing? What will people think? What will he say? As we pulled up to the building, I felt small. The sidewalks were busy with afternoon commuters. People in suits whizzed by on their cell phones as cars honked and were lined up bumper-to-bumper. The building was huge, and as we walked in the front doors, Todd and I did what we had done so many times by this point. We gave each other a look, locked hands, took a deep breath and pushed forward.
As we took the elevator to one of the top floors, my mind was trying to take in the events that had led me to this place. I wanted to be at home playing with my baby, reading him stories and singing him lullabies. Instead, I was about to meet a lawyer and discuss his death. The secretary escorted us to some sort of conference room that overlooked much of the city. It was filled with a huge round table that looked like it could sit about twenty. Todd and I sat there alone and nervous. I had googled the lawyer and knew what he looked like; glasses, mid-fifties maybe. I was surprised when in walked a gentleman younger then me. He was clean cut and wore a suit and tie. He had that all-American look. He sat across from us and introduced himself as Parker, one of Brian’s associates. I didn’t think twice about his age or the fact that he wasn’t Brian. I had no idea how this stuff worked.
He started talking over the case with us. I was surprised by how thoroughly he knew it. I loved that unlike the detectives and doctors, he referred to Nash by name and not our baby. It made it feel personal, which is what I wanted from someone who may be fighting on his behalf. At this point, I still wasn’t sure if he was even taking the case. He told me that Nash’s case was brought to the round table and discussed, and they all felt strongly about it and decided to take the case. The first of many tears that day started flowing. I think Parker was taken off-guard. I think he assumed we knew this because we were meeting with him.
He then went on to explain his credentials and that his young age does not mean he is inexperienced. He wasn’t doing it in a boastful or arrogant way. He seemed genuine and wanted us to know how serious he took Nash’s case. It was silent for a second as he readjusted and told us he had a baby of his own; that he felt connected to our case and had actually requested it. I held back tears as I responded. He was a father himself, and I felt at ease knowing that. I began to describe Nash to him and all of the many things that had happened since he died. The support we have had, the community that rallied, the family that loved him. I took my phone from my purse and showed him a picture of Nash. It was important to me. I wanted him to know that he was a person, a human being, one that was loved beyond measure. I also felt a lot of guilt for the circumstances under which we were meeting. Talking about suing someone is not something I ever considered doing. That was before Nash died, and I felt the need to explain how and why we came to the decision we did. I wanted him to see his picture and understand the reasons we needed them to be held accountable. I wanted it to be more then a file on his desk.
As Todd and I walked out of the building, a van with a rainbow painted on the side drove by and I gasped. We turned the corner to get something to eat and almost immediately passed a party store with different color balloons painted all over the windows. It reminded me of the balloons we released at Nash’s funeral and the rainbow I saw that day. Chills went through me. I looked to the sky and thought to myself, “I hear you Nash. Momma hears you.” I felt empowered, I felt relief. I felt…on the right path.
We are currently pursuing a civil suit against the daycare and Parker is our lawyer. This is not a decision we came to lightly and is probably the scariest thing we have ever done. We have to do it though. We have to do it for Nash. He would still be here if things were done differently that day, I know that for sure. My life and the life of my family is forever changed by those events. We will spend our whole life missing our first child, a child we loved, a child who did not deserve to die. It’s time to give Nash a voice in all of this. To let people know we decided to fight for him. That he died because of negligence, and the daycare should be held accountable for that.
I know not everyone will understand, but I think most will agree that something needs to change. No one should fear dropping their child off at daycare and never seeing them alive again. Maybe if these cases were handled differently, Todd and I wouldn’t be in the position we are now. Maybe our baby would still be alive. Regulations have been in place for years to protect children from things like this. Don’t place infants on their stomachs to sleep. Monitor them closely. Keep the correct ratio of children per caregiver. If you are not in the room, there must be a baby monitor. A regulation could not save my baby though, and ours isn’t this first to die like this and will not be the last until childcare providers realize they will be held accountable if they do not follow these guidelines. I know I am just one person, but if I have learned anything from Nash, it’s that it only takes one to start a fire.